Claddagh Ball West Side Irish American Club

On Saturday evening, March 10th, we had a good time attending the West Side Irish American Club’s 15th annual Claddagh Ball that took place in its facility on Jennings Road in Olmsted Township. Before we stepped inside, Mr. Tyler Tagliaferro greeted us as he played beautiful Irish melodies on his bagpipes for all arriving guests. Likewise, throughout dinnertime, Mr. Sean Fleming sang some beautiful ballads as well as contemporary tunes to entertain us all.

We were fortunate enough to be seated near the speakers’ platform where we shared a table with Ms. Linda Clark, the proprietor of the small store at the West Side Irish American Club, and Ms. Mary Anne McIlwee, who was named the Hibernian of the Year for the 2019 St. Patrick’s Day parade.

On every table there were several 2019 St. Patrick’s Day Parade booklets and we are proud to say that Margaret W. Wong and Associates, LLC bought a two page ad.

Since we are film buffs, we really looked forward to hearing the main speaker who was Mr. Bill Garvey, who is a motion picture and television location manager and scout with 25 of experience.

Mr. Garvey, the child of parents who immigrated to the United States from Ireland, started off by talking about how his family frequently visited Ireland over the summer where he made friends with another young lad whose parents just happened to own a video store (this was prior to DVD’s) so they got to watch a lot of movies together and became “fascinated by the power of cinema.”

After college, Mr. Garvey took any job that he could in the motion picture industry and eventually got to work on such films as “The Avengers” and such TV shows as “Law and Order” as a location manager, a position whose responsibilities are, as stated in his bio, “finding all the filming locations listed in a script and coordinating the logistics associated with those locations before, during, and after the filming takes place. The logistics include the negotiation of filming location contracts and obtaining filming permits from government municipalities, as well as coordinating with police and fire departments.”

Mr. Garvey then went on to talk about how  the Cleveland/Northeast Ohio region is fast becoming a favored film location of the motion picture industry due to the unique characteristics of the structures in our urban areas as well as our rural locales.

Also of vital importance is the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit and the fact that local officials are eager to cooperate with the motion picture industry due to the fact that it has brought least $500 million worth of business here via the usage of such local entities as restaurants and hotels.

What’s more, movies shot here tend to highlight the attractiveness of our region and inspire viewers to visit us. Mr. Garvey compared this to how Irish tourism increased in the early 1950’s due to the popularity of the John Wayne film, “The Quiet Man.”

Afterwards, several other people received annual honors like Ms. Bridget Mackin (2019 Queen), Ms. Nell Buckley (2019 Woman of the Year), Mr. John William Lally (2019 Man of the Year) and Mr. Tom and Ms. Kathleen Egan (2019 Volunteers of the Year) and all of them got to say of few words expressing their gratitude.

Although we are admittedly a bit biased became we interviewed Ms. Kathleen Egan for “I, Foreign Born” (and Mr. Tom Egan sat in sat in on it and contributed a lot) but we especially liked their presentations because they reminded us how much the West Side Irish American Club is dependent on its volunteers and how necessary it is that more young people take part. For that matter, a person doesn’t have to be young to be needed; there are plenty of opportunities for retirees in their 60’s to become involved with maintaining the Club which, in fact, was constructedentirely by volunteers.

Along these lines, Mr. and Mrs. Egan both twinkled as they expressed pride that their son mows the huge lawn of the Club six months out of every year and pays for the gas that powers the equipment.

It has been our experience also that such generous giving not only empowers an organization but enhances its vitality which is why we always enjoy our visits to the West Side Irish American Club.